The 2015 earthquake left most of Kathmandu Durbar Square in ruin. Since the earthquake, a massive recovery effort was initiated, and a lot of the buildings are being restored. All the damaged buildings are expected to be refurbished by 2020. One highlight of Kathmandu Durbar Square is the presence of the living goddess (kumari).
Kathmandu Dubar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of many in Nepal. In addition, it has an outdoor market, and many beautiful carvings and engravings on buildings.
The entrance fee is $10, but you might be able to enter the area from a side alley. The entrances are well guarded, and it would be difficult to get past a check point without paying the entrance fee.
Kathmandu Durbar square started with the construction of the royal palace in the Licchavi period (400-750). King Mahendra Malla built more temples and expanded the square. He added Jagannath temple in 1563, Taleju Temple in 1564, and Kotilingeshwar Mahadev Temple afterward on an unknown date.
After Mahendra Malla’s death, his son took the throne and began an extensive building campaign. He built Vamsagopala in 1649. Between 1649 and 1670 he built two other temples, the Agamachem temple, and a 5 roofed temple, both in the northern area of the palace (Mohan Chok). During this time span, he also restored Taleju Temple, Degutaleju Temple, Shiva temple. In addition, he built another temple dedicated to shiva (Indrapur) and decorated the Jagannath Temple with carvings. He also built the pavilion Kavindrapura and decorated the area with fountains, ponds, and baths.
His son died in 1674, but his family slowly built Trailokya Mohan, Maju Deval, Kageshwor Temple, and Kumari Bahal up to 1746.
Then, in 1770, Prthivi Narayan Shah built Basantapur Durbar, and Lam Chok, but no other major additions were added after King Shah’s death in 1785.
How to find Kathmandu Durbar square
Kathmandu Durbar square is about 1 mile south west of Thamel. It will take you about 20 minutes to walk, or 10 minutes to drive. You can book your Kathmandu sight seeing tour with Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure. Click here to learn about some of what you can see on your tour.
Length of stay
In its current condition, I wouldn’t spend more than 1 hour there. That is plenty of time to see the Kumari, and walk around and take pictures.
Unfortunately, all the Kathmandu world heritage sites can’t all be seen in 1 day; there are too many sights too far apart. Fortunately, you have this guide to help you choose which places to visit. In this blog post I provide a description of each of the world heritage sites, a few photographs and links to detailed articles further explaining the sites. I hope you enjoy!
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur is an amazing old-world town with a long history and rich culture. Its most famous temple is the Nyatapola Temple, which has 5 stories. It has a pottery area, where people can see craftsmen create earthenwear. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is known as the way back to culture. You can find out more about it here.
The history of Boudhanath Stupa is a shrouded mystery and covered in folk tales and lore. You can receive 3 different backgrounds from 3 different people and they will all have some aspects of truth. Without giving away too much detail, one history involves a human sacrifice, a chicken, and water. Another involves an old woman and the king of Nepal. Hint: the old woman isn’t his grandmother! You can read about these interesting stories here.
Changu Narayan Temple
Full disclosure: I’ve never been here, but I hear its nice! From what I understand its an old Hindu temple that is beautifully carved and constructed. Most tours do not go here because it is very far away from the other heritage sites in Kathmandu. If you do visit, let me know how it went and I will rewrite this blog post with your description. Really, you can write whatever you want, and I’ll post it here! “tempting offer” you say. You can read more about it here before you make up your mind.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square has a similar history as Patan Durbar Square. It was ruled by both the Mallas (from noth east Indians) and the Shahs (from Gorkha). It has a beautiful pallace and many supporting temples. The main attraction of Kathmandu Durbar Square is the Kumari (living goddess), who you can see, if she is there. You can read more about it here.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is an amazing old-world town with a long history and rich culture. Its most famous temple is the Shiva Temple, which was carved from imported stone from India. It has a phenomenal 3 story museum, which houses relics and cultural artifacts from the past. Patan Durbar Square is known for its Newari architecture, museum, and palace. You can find out more about it here.
You are only allowed entrance into the Pashupatinath Temple if you are Hindu. You can say you’re Hindu and try to enter, but you should not be wearing any leather products. Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures’ guides will help you, if you have any issues. In addition, I’ve even met people who have been turned away for being white. The racial bigotry aside, the temple complex is very cool. It is located on the Bagmati River and there is a mini-zoo too. You can read about the significance of the river and zoo here.
The Swayambhunath Stupa has a very beautiful myth about its creation. The myth involves a giant lake, a god with lice, and a single lotus flower. It is a miniaturized version of Boudhanath Stupa, but with statues, and a small brick stupa. Do not come here if you are allergic to monkeys stealing your lunch. Swayambhunath is also known as the monkey temple. To find out why, follow this link.
I hope this article was helpful. Please feel free to save any of these pins to your Pinterest account.
It is also one of my favorite areas because of its towering towers, museums, temple art, many mandala studios, cleanliness and pottery square. The whole area is made up of 4 squares, which each have their own attractions. You can learn about the area, before your visit in this blog post. Kick back, relax and enjoy. If you have a Pinterest, feel free to pin these pics.
Bhaktapur was Nepal’s capital city from the 12th to the 15th century. It was also a sovereign country at the same time! The city is surrounded by tall brick walls with many gates, which gives it a fortress or medieval feeling. Bhaktapur was joined with the rest of Nepal in the 18th century, and though it is no longer considered the cultural capital of Nepal, it still has a rich and beautiful Newari cultural heritage.
The Durbar Square is the first area you come to after walking through the main gate. You are immediately inundated by beautiful temples, shrines, statues, artwork and culture.
You will see a giant lion statue, Lion’s Gate, Golden Gate, and 55 Window Palace on your left. The Bhaktapur museum is in the 55-window palace. You will see the mini Pashupati Temple, Rameshwar and Gopi Nath connected Temples, Vatsala Devi Temple, and the remains of the Vatsala Temple on your right.
The Golden Gate is decorated with gold and has a figure of the goddess Kali and her griffin Garuda at the crown of the door. Click here to learn more about recognizing Buddhist and Hindu gods.
They are served by 2 nymphs (one on each side). Above the door and on the trim are mythical Hindu creatures performing mischievous acts. Golden Gate is the entrance to the Bhaktapur museum and the 55-Window Palace.
The palace is not much to look at from the outside, and since I haven’t been on the inside, I can’t speak for it. The wood trimming surrounding the 55 windows are beautifully decorated with ornate carvings of deities.
Vatsala Temple is directly across the 55- window palace. It is a wooden 2-story temple with a brick foundation. There are 2 lion statues guarding the entrance to the temple. It was moderately damaged in the 2015 earthquake.
Vatsala Devi Temple
This stone temple is directly behind the Vatsala Temple. It was reduced to ruble in the 2015 earthquake. Restoration attempts are being made, but progress is slow.
This temple is tucked behind the Vatsala Devi and Vatsala Temples. It was built to honor Shiva and is a smaller version of the Pashupati Temple in Pashupatinath. This temple as many beautifully carved support structures. Some of the carving are borderline crude to extremely erotic.
Rameshwar and Gopi Nath Temples
These temples are connected to each other. They are located on the right-hand side of the entrance gate. Rameshwar Temple is a 4-pillar temple built to honor Shiva. Most of the time the door to this temple is closed, but it is suspected of housing 3 deities. The Gopi Nath Temple is a 2-roofed pagoda style temple also built to honor Shiva.
The Taumadhi Square is the 2nd most important area in the city. It has one of the most famous temples in Nepal, Nyatapola Temple. It is also the home of Bhairabnath Temple, Tilmadhav Narayan Temple and Stone sculptures. On April 10th, large slides are brought in people can play on them.
Nyatapola Temple is the tallest 5 story temple in Nepal. Its name means 5 stories. It is extremely beautiful, because it’s 5-tiered brick foundation reflects the 5 wooden stories above it. It has many artistic carvings in the doors, window frames, and supports. The temple overlooks Taumadhi Square and is a delight to climb to the top and look out.
Bhairabnath Temple is a much smaller temple in comparison to Nyatapola, but it is still huge. It is a 3 storied temple made of brick and wood. It has a stone and iron fence around it with sculptures. The entrance to the temple is rarely opened.
Dattatreya Square is the oldest part of Bhaktapur; it also serves as an open museum. This square is known for its wood carving craftsman. It has Dattatreya Temple, which is the oldest temple in the Bhaktapur.
Dattatreya Temple is a 3 tiered wooden and brick temple built in 1427. The temple is rumored to be built from the lumber of a single tree. There is a later addition in front of the temple that is sometimes referred to as the porch. It has stone statures guarding the entrance and deities looking over it on pillars.
Pottery Square is one of my favorite areas in Bhaktapur. You can see how pottery is thrown and how they “kiln dry” their creations. The earthen containers are also set in the sun on display. In addition, you can receive a pottery lesson by a master craftsman.
The entrance fee is 15 dollars. The price was increased after the 2015 earthquake. The museum fee is $2 to $5 dollars. There are many entrance points into the Bhaktapur. If you are willing to hustle your way through the side streets and back allies its possible to get in for free.
How to get to Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is about 10 miles south east of Tamel. It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to drive there. I would not recommend walking or riding a bike, because the route travels along a busy freeway.
Any time is a good time to go. If you want to see the Bhaktapur museum, you should be there before 4:00, because it closes at 5:00.
How long to stay
When I come to Bhaktapur, I usually spend 1 to 2 hours walking around and taking pictures. If it is your first time in Bhaktapur, you will probably want at least 3 hours to wonder the area. The length of your visit also depends on what you want to see. If you want to see all 4 squares at one time, you might want to stay for 4 to 5 hours.
The Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour houses 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each site has its own unique attractions and is known for certain qualities. Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure’s professional and knowledgeable guides are dedicated to your satisfaction on this culturally rich and historic tour. You can expect to visit at least 4 sites on a full day tour. You might be able to squeeze in more if time permits.
The Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour is perfect for anyone who is interested in architecture, south Asian history, Hinduism, Buddhism, Himalayan culture, or has free time in Kathmandu and would like to see a lot of cool and iconic places.
On the tour you can see Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Changunarayan temple. However, due to the time associated with traveling, you may only be able to see 4 sites. Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure guarentees you at least 4 site visits on a full day tour.
Some locations had temples and shrines collapse during the April 2015 earthquake. Fortunately restoration and rebuilding efforts are under way. Please visit our blog or contact us for up to date information about which temples are still being rebuilt and which are completed.
The top 4 most visited sites are Boudhanath, Bhktapur Durbar Sqare, Patan Durbar Sqare, and Pashupathinath.
Before you begin your tour a guide and a private car will pick you up at your hotel. From here we travel to the first 2 sites. Then around 11:30 or 12 our driver can pick up lunch for us while we are touring a site or we can have lunch at one of the many restaurants in Kathmandu. Then with the remainder of our time, we finish the tour.
To see more pictures or to read about the experience you can visit our blog here.
Patan Durbar Square is a beautiful city center in Lalitpur in Kathmandu. The city is a testament to Newar ingenuity and culture. Patan Durbar Square also has a beautiful history and many amazing temples. In addition, it has an ancient palace, which served as the residence for Malla kings that governed the area. Did I mention it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site like Swayambhunath and Boudhanath Stupa?
There is a $10 entrance fee that can’t be avoided if you go into the museum or temples. You do not have to pay if you are just walking on the street.
Before Patan Durbar Square was Patan Durbar Square, it was a crossroad and settlement or office area of foreign high-ranking political advisors or ministers. From what I could deduce it was a place like present day Washington D.C. and a place for tax collection.
After Durbar Square grew into a prosperous area, it was taken up by Malla kings around 1200 AD. For 600 years after, Patan Durbar Square was extremely prosperous and this period was known as the golden years. Most of the improvements, including the temples, were built during the Malla dynasty.
The Malla dyanasty ended in 1768 when Kathmandu was invaded by the Ghorkha Kingdom. The Ghorkhas ruled Nepal until 2008 under the Shah Dyanasty. During this time king’s residence was shifted from Patan to Kathmandu.
Most of the notable architectural accomplishments in Patan Durbar Square were built in the last part of the Malla rule, in 1600’s.
The architecture displays some amazing craftmanship and artistic work by Newar people. The Krishna temple is one example and is regarded as the most important temple in the square.
Krishna temple was built in 1637. The stone was imported from India and constructed on site. It was built in the shape of a mountain (Shikhara style) and intricately carved.
The carvings on the first-floor pillars tell the story of a war fought by conflicting cousins. Two cousins were fighting for the ownership of the throne. The story is written out in Sanskrit epics of ancient India named Mahabharata.
The carvings on the second-floor tell the story of the deity Ram who rescued his wife Sita from a demon king named Ravana. This story is also written out in the Sanskrit epics of ancient India named Ramayana
The third-floor carving tell the story of Buddha.
If you would like to know more about Buddhist and Hindu deities and mythology, click here.
How to get to Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is located about 4 miles south of Thamel near the center of ring road. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to travel there by car with traffic.
Depending on what you are interested in, you could spend the whole day walking through the square and old palace and viewing the artifacts in the museum. If you rush it, you can walk the square, palace and visit the museum in 2 hours.
Click here to learn more about Buddhist and Hindu sculpture.
When to go
Anytime is a great time to go. The museum and palace open at 10:30 and close at 5:30. Before then, you can walk the square.
Due to the earthquake in April 2015, most of the temples toppled over. Since then, repairs are being made to the temples. As of April 2018, the renovations have not been completed, but are expected to be completed by 2020.
Finding time to travel can be difficult, especially if you have a family. Fortunately there are a number of activities you can do in Nepal that only take 3 days. These include jungle safaris, hiking, and cultural tours. Whether you are short on time or just passing through Nepal, here are my top picks for 3 day Nepal tour packages that are family friendly. I hope you come visit Nepal.
The Kathmandu valley is rich with culture and historic sites. Kathmandu has been inhabited for over 2,000 years, but the oldest buildings still standing were constructed in the mid to late 1600’s CE. This is because earthquakes destroyed the older less resilient building. Unfortunately though, Nepal has lost some incredible temples and buildings, especially in Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Although a lot of these structures have been rebuilt, restoration is still underway. With that being noted, the Kathmandu cultural Heritage Site Tour is still one of the best 3 days Nepal Tour available. It is quick, cheap, fun, and full of culture.
Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour
The Kathmandu sightseeing tour is a great way to explore the Kathmandu valley. Whether you are interested Nepal’s UNESCO world heritage sites, culture, or history, you will have a good time on the tour.
On a full day sightseeing tour, you can see 4 or more attractions including durbar squares, temples, the former king’s palace, and stupas. Believe me, there are a lot of cool and iconic places. Please see my captain’s log entry on the locations that were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.
On the tour, you will be accompanied by a tour guide, and be chauffeured by a private vehicle. When you schedule your Nepal tour, contact us to plan which sights you want to see. If you want to see all of them, I recommend the 2 day tour. The following is a short list of the most visited sights in the Kathmandu valley.
Kathmandu Durbar square
Kathmandu durbar square is pretty cool. Kathmandu is the capital city after all. It has a lot of old buildings, temples, and the royal palace of the Mallas and Shahs. But the main attraction is the Living goddess, Kumari. I have a captains log dedicated to the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Here are a few attractions:
royal palace Hanumandhoka
The Hanumandhoka Palace was damaged in the earthquake, and repairs are still underway. However museum in the palace is open for visitors. The Palace was named after the entrance gate (“dhoka”) and the Hindu deity (Hanuman) that guards the gate.
The Statue of Kala Bairav depicts a triumphant Shiva standing over vanquished enemies. He holds his enemies’ severed body parts in his hands.
This building was built in the early 20th century. It was used for coronations of kings before the monarchy collapsed. It is still standing with mild damage from the earthquake.
Freak street was once the primary destination for foreigners. Now it is just a open air market and a nice destination when you explore Kathmandu valley.
bhimsen tower/ basantapur tower
The tower was destroyed in the 2015 Earthquake. It was made out of brick and lime and stood at about 203 ft tall. It has not been repaired yet. Your Nepal tour will skip the collapsed structures, unless you want to see a pile of rubble.
Itum Bahal is the largest Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. It is deceivingly small in the photo, but this complex of buildings contains several buildings for prayer, recreation, living quarters, and a museum. The complex sustained minor damages, but has been repaired, and is fully operational and open for visitors.
The Juannath Temple was built in the 16th century. It is one of the oldest temples in the Kathmandu valley. It is notable for the erotic figures carved in its wood struts. The temple used to serve as a means of sexual education, and possibly the priests taught about how to live well and maintain a healthy relationship.
The temple sustained minor damages in the 2015 earthquake. It has partially been repaired, and is open for visitors. It is still a great destination for your Nepal itinerary.
digu taleju temple / maju dega
The Maju Dega 3 tier temple collapsed in the earthquake. It has yet to be rebuilt. Your Nepal tour will skip this location.
The Kumari is the living goddess of Nepal. She is chosen at 4 to 5 years of age by the Newar people of Shakya. When she reaches puberty or becomes sick she looses the goddes “power” and new kumari is chosen. She lives in a 3 story red brick building near the entrance of the square.
shiva and parvati temple
This temple is dedicated to Parvati and her husband Shiva. They are shown looking down from the window below the roof line in the center of the building.
Patan durbar square
Patan is one of those mystical locations that is popular, but you don’t know anything about. At least for me, it used to be. It was featured in Raiders of the Lost Arch as the area where Indiana Jones finds the head piece for the staff of Ra. When you visit, you will see that it belongs to a period in time forgotten forgotten in history.
The Patan museum is one of the best Museums in Nepal. There are a ton of cool bronze and stone sculptures, ancient Buddhists manuscripts, and art on the walls. If you visited one museum on your Nepal tour, make it this one.
The Krishna Temple was built in 1637. It was dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna after the king Siddhi Narasingh had a dream of Krishna and Radha standing in the location where the temple was built. The temple was constructed completely out of stone. The temple was damaged in the earthquake but was completely repaired.
The temple was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. It is still under reconstruction.
Vishwanatha temple has a double platform and is 2 tiered. Its ornately carved wooden struts and carved decorations in its wood beams bring character to this temple. Two stone elephants are on the east side of the building, while a bull is on the west side.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur encompasses an area of over 6 square miles. Most of the area is modernized with hotels, restaurants, shops, and a lot of open space. There are 33 temples, shrines, pagodas, statues, and monuments that have historic and religious significance. The following is a short list of attractions.
This temple was built in the 17th century. It was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and has been rebuilt. What makes this temple interesting is that it houses a sculpture of the combined forms of lord Shiva and Vishnu.
The Bhaktapur royal palace is one of the main attractions of the square. unfortunately it was severely damaged in the earthquake and is still under construction.
This temple is very similar to the Badrinath temple, but grander. This temple gets its name from the statue of Kedareshwar in its center. Kedareshwar is an incarnation of Shiva that protects farms.
The temple has a primary center pinnacle with 4 supporting smaller pinnacles at its sides. It is made out of red brick. It was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, but has since been repaired.
This temple was built to honor Vishnu and Krishna. It is a beautiful pagoda style temple artistically constructed out of carved wood and brick. The brick and wood fit seamlessly together as the jagged boundaries of the two medias create a daring dynamic look.
There are no signs of damage at the temple. It is still standing and open for visitors.
The golden gate of Bhaktapur durbar square is one of the most recognizable structures in the area. The golden roof and trim make it standout in a crowd of red brick and dark wood.
55 window pallace
The Bhaktapur Malla palace was built in 1754 after over 300 years of construction and remodeling. It was demolished in an earthquake in 1934 and rebuilt. fortunately the 2015 earthquake did not significantly damage the 55 window palace. It is still open for visitors.
Visitors can walk through the rooms and look at art, and have a city view of Bhaktapur through the windows.
Boudhanath stupa is one of the most iconic landmarks in the Kathmandu valley. The piercing blue eyes of the stupa can be seen on coffee mugs to the cover of the Lonely Planet Nepal guide book.
The stupa is at the center of a ring of monasteries, temples, shops, and hotels. The area has a beautiful park like atmosphere, where you don’t mind having a picknick and lounging around all day. It was not damaged in the 2015 earthquake.
I highly recommend this location on your Nepal tour.
The Swayambhunath temple is pretty cool. The monkeys can get a little handsy, but if you don’t have any food they’ll leave you alone. The monkey temple is located at the top of a small hill. You can walk or drive up to it.
There is also a mini Boudhanath temple at the top of the hill. It is surrounded by mini shrines, a few venders, and a tea house. In addition, They were building a temple similar to the Badrinath temple next to it. It is now complete and open for viewing.
The Swayambhunath stupa is not as grand as the stupa at Boudhanath but it is still worth a visit. None of the buildings were damaged in the earthquake.
On your way to visit Pashupatinath temple you will cross the Bagmati river, which runs through the back of the Pashupatinath temple complex. Once you are finished looking at the temples make your way to the river. There is a high probability you will be able to see a funeral pyre.
This is one of the most sacred places for a Hindu burial in Nepal. It is believed Shiva turned himself into a deer and lived on the hill above the temple. There is now a zoo on the hill to honor shiva.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is my top destination for a 3 days Nepal tour. It is perfect for families with young and old members, and wildlife enthusiasts. Chitwan National Park is completely safe. It’s exciting and fun and the best way to spend your time, if you only have 3 days in Nepal.
The park is over 359 square miles of pristine habitat for the wild animals and plants. Despite being endangered and threatened, one horned rhinoceroses, elephants, and gharial crocodiles are extremally common in the park.
You can also see monkeys, deer, leopards, sloth bears, Bengal tigers, 544 species of birds, wild pigs, 56 species of reptiles, and a magnitude of other animals. The leopards, tigers, river dolphins and bears are a lot less common.
Chitwan National Park is located 119 miles west of of the Kathmandu valley. It takes about 5 to 6 hours to reach the park by bus from Kathmandu. If you arrive early enough, you can complete the tour in 2 days and be back in the Kathmandu valley for a sightseeing tour.
Chitwan National Park is in a subtropical climate. It can be chilly in the mornings in the winter, but otherwise its hot and wet. It has an average yearly rainfall of 87 inches, which occurs mainly during the monsoon season from June through September.
The average high temperature is 87 F, while the average low is 61 F.
The price of a jungle safari ranges from $200 to 3,000. You definitely get what you pay for. Accommodations range from a tent on a platform to luxury hotels with indoor plumbing. Our tour package costs $2,090, and we give group discounts.
The best time to visit the park is in the spring (March – May). At this time you are more likely to see tigers. I recommend coming in the winter (November – January) because the weather is so much more pleasant.
The park is open all year long, but during the monsoon season hotels and restaurants close down.
Poon Hill Trek
The Poon Hill trek is a lightly hearted trek through forests and small villages. The highlight of the hike is a spectacular sunrise over the Annapurna mountain ranges. The mountain views are impressive.
The trek requires minimum effort and is ranked as an easy to moderate hike, which makes it perfect for families with kids. The maximum elevation on the hike is 10,531 ft but you are only gaining about 2,000 ft in elevation from the start of the hike. You may experience altitde sickness at the top of Poon Hill, but it is unlikely.
The peak season for trekking Poon Hill is from September to November. This time offers the clearest views of the mountain ranges. However, in April you will still have pretty good views and can catch the rhododendron blooms.
Namche Bazaar Trek
One of the most adventurous trekking tracks is the trail to Everest base camp. The Namche Bazaar Trek will get you halfway there and can be done in 3 days. It is pretty strenuous though. It is worth the effort because you will have views of Mt Everest and Lhotse. They are 2 of the highest Himalayan peaks in Nepal.
The elevation of Namche Bazaar is 11,286. I had mild altitude sickness in Namche, but fortunately it passed after I was able to rest. I do not recommend this tour for kids, but it is great for teens, and adults.
If mount Everest is on your bucket list, but you don’t want to hike all the way to it, this is a great alternative. In addition the mountain views from Namche are pretty phenomenal too.
Lumbini Monastery tour
In the 6th century BCE Lumbini was an independent country ruled by King Śuddhodana. His wife Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama who would later inspire peace in the world, and be known as Buddha.
The Lumbini Tour offers the opportunity to explore the birthplace of buddha and visit temples and monasteries built by countries to honor Buddha. You can explore the parks and gardens, and even stay in the monasteries.
The tour is only 3 days and is a perfect way to spend the day sightseeing.
Three Days Nepal Tour
You have a lot of options for a 3 days Nepal tour. Kathmandu valley has three durbar squares and a ton of temples, Chitwan has wildlife and excitement, Poon Hill has beautiful mountain views and flowers, Namche has Mt. Everest, and beautiful views, and Lumbini has enlightenment.
Nepal is one of the most family friendly vacation destinations that I know of. If the Classification and Rating Administration for movies also rated countries, Nepal would be rated G for general audience of all ages. A family vacation to Nepal with kids is educational, exciting, and a really great time.
A family tour of Chitwan National Park could be a great way to educate young kids on the importance of habitat conservation as well as being on a really cool jungle safari. Also, there is an elephant breeding center in Chitwan that teaches about elephant population restoration in Nepal.
While Chitwan is exciting and fun, a family holiday in Nepal during Dashain would be an amazing way to show how different cultures celebrate and worship in different religions. Even a tour of the Kathmandu valley would be great at identifying Hindu deities and how spirituality can influence architecture.
The Poon Hill trek in April is a fun and easy trek to show how plants respond to the environment. In fact, I was happy to see a boy scout troop hiking up Poon Hill while I was on my way down. There were Large and small kids in the troop.
A destination holiday with the family and kids can be stressful. Thankfully in Nepal, you don’t have to worry about money, weather, time, or safety. These common worry points are easily managed.
Is Nepal good for family trip?
Nepal is a great destination for a family trip because it is a family friendly country. The people are nice and accommodating, It is relatively inexpensive, porters will carry your kids if they get tired of walking, and Nepal has a low crime rate.
As an example the crime rate of Nepal as expressed by MacroTrends is 2.3 for every 100,000 people. This is extremally low. Nepal is safe for families. It is safe for men, women, and children.
Nepal is very conservative in that the majority of the population has traditional values. Women tend not to wear revealing clothing. If you wear a top that is too low or shorts that are too high, men will stare.
In the larger cities like Kathmandu, and Pokhara nobody cares what you wear. They are all used to it. But, if you go out to a club dressed provocatively, you might be groped.
Other than that Nepal is a great family vacation destination.
Can I go to Nepal during Covid/ Is there a travel ban to Nepal?
As of March 10, 2022 Nepal’s Department of Immigration rescinded all orders regarding entry limitations. To enter the country you will either have to provide proof of vaccination, proof of a negative COVID-19 report (RT-PCR, NAAT, Gene Xpert) taken within 72 hours of home country departure or take a COVID-19 test at the airport.
When is the best time of the year for a family holiday in Nepal?
The best times for Nepal family holidays is in early October or late April depending on what activities you and the family want to do.
Nepal in October has beautiful clear skies with mildly cold weather. This is the perfect time if you are going trekking and want exceptional views of the mountains.
Nepal in April is a little rainy and mildly warm with cool nights. This is the perfect time to visit if you want to go to Poon Hill to see the Rhododendrons bloom or life come out of hibernation in Chitwan.
How many days in Nepal is enough? How much time do I need?
I recommend staying for at least 2 weeks, but you can have an excellent time with just 3 days. A longer vacation will allow you and the kids to acclimate to the time change, while providing opportunity to explore the country.
Most hikes or treks take about 2 weeks to complete. The exception is the Poon Hill Trek and the Langtang trek. Other tours like the jungle safari, heritage site tour, and pilgrimage tour can all be completed in 3 days.
I personally like long vacations, but unfortunately they are rarely long enough. A 90 day vacation holiday is enough for me.
Are Nepal family holidays expensive? How much does a holiday in Nepal with Kids cost?
The cost of a family vacation depends on your activities, the length of your stay, and how many people are in your family.
In general, a family of 4 can have an amazing 2 week trip for around $6,500. This is an all expenses paid vacation, which includes food, family rooms, guide, porter, licenses, permits, and activities. As a comparison, you would spend about $11,500 on a 2 week pass in Disney Land.
Having your family vacation in Nepal will save you about $5,000 compared to an equal time spent in Disney Land.
Your personal expenses will be low if you buy a tour package. You will not have to pay for anything except for souvenirs, plane tickets, and alcoholic beverages.
Family Tour and Popular Family treks
The great thing about family and group tours is that you can get them at a discounted rate. Contact us, and we can work out a deal. The difficulty of the recommended hikes for a family tour with kids trekking is low to medium difficulty.
During my treks, I’ve seen family tours on all the below treks except for the Everest Base Camp trek. I discuss it because it is a common question I get. But before I recommended a family tour, I’ll go over a few things you should know about trekking in Nepal with kids.
How do I book or organize my trek?
On our website, select the trek you are interested in and purchase it. Or you may call us to ask for a family discount. We don’t normally charge for kids, so just let us know they will be with you and it will be fine. We will take care of the rest.
If you are the do it yourself type, you can arrange your travel to and from the Kathmandu airport, book your hotel, find the permit and licensing department for the area you will be traveling to, buy your permits, navigate the bus park to buy your ticket and find the right bus to your next hotel, leave your non-essential gear at a place you trust, find a bus that will take you to the start of your trek, find a guide so you don’t get lost, check in at all the check points, then make it back. Believe me, it can be a nightmare.
It is not something you want to do on your own in Nepal with kids. It would be one of the most stressful things ever. Do you know where the hospital is? What if someone got sick or injured while trekking? Please do your do diligence if you choose to do it yourself.
Please call us, we are happy to help, even if you do not book your tour through us.
When can kids start trekking?
They can start as soon as they can walk. I will leave it to the parents discretion to choose which treks are appropriate for their kids.
What are accommodations like on the tour?
If you visit Nepal for a family tour you will have great hotel accommodations. Tours in Chitwan National Park and the Kathmandu valley have excellent facilities. You will have rooms with hot water, and clean and comfortable rooms.
If your family tour involves going trekking, each night you will stay in a tea house. Tea houses are highly commercialized bed and breakfasts. They can range form extremely nice to down right terrible.
I did not trust the cleanliness of most of the tea houses I stayed in. If you are like me, bring your own sleeping bags and pillows and rest knowing you will not catch scabies or Molluscum contagiosum from the sheets.
The food you can order on the treks varies from area to area and season, but you are guaranteed to be able to order something. Lentils and rice are always on the menu, which is normally an excellent choice. I bring a water filter and filter all the water I drink when I am trekking. I have plenty of friends who are not as diligent as I am and drank unfiltered non-treated or boiled water. They never had a problem with getting sick. The water is probably safe to drink, but just be careful.
What gear do I need?
You will need hiking boots, a water filter, and warm cloths to go trekking. I strongly recommend sun glasses, sleeping bags, and pillows too. All other equipment is optional and can be purchased in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Trekking poles are nice and they do help on the down hill hikes.
If you are going on a safari or touring heritage sites and temples, you will need sun screen, breathable clothing, water filter, hats, and insect repellant if on safari, and dust mask if in Kathmandu.
How difficult is trekking for kids?
As long as they are having fun, it is easy. The recommended treks for kids have a lots of rest locations, have a gentle slope or an easy hiking path, and are low in altitude. Older kids will have an easier time trekking, but if needed kids can always be carried by a porter.
I have seen a lot of kids trekking in Nepal. The number 1 thing that makes kids happy is going slowly, exploring what they are interested in, rest and eat when needed. A really amazing guide help make it an amazing trip by telling stories about the trek, sightings of Big Foot, and non-fictional wildlife.
In general all the recommended treks are easy to moderate in difficulty, but can be made less difficult by providing support.
Kids can get altitude sickness while trekking in Nepal
Be careful when choosing the trek you want to go on with your kids. Make sure they are fit enough to do the hike in the first place. Also please take them to the mountains a couple of times to see if the altitude causes any uncomfortable feelings.
Please note that kids may not be the best communicators and may have a difficult time identifying what problems they are feeling. Do your best to isolate the discomfort and take them to a doctor for assessment and information.
Some common symptoms of altitude sickness include headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, upset stomach, week and tired, difficulty breathing when active, constant fatigue, trouble sleeping, and increased heart rate.
Please consult with a doctor about altitude issues before coming on a trek.
Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan National Park jungle safari is the easiest and most fun family tour. You have a high likely hood of seeing endangered rhinoceroses, threatened Gharial crocodiles, colorful birds, monkeys and spotted deer. There is a very rare chance of seeing a bangle tiger, but it is possible. If you want to see a tiger a better safari destination is Bardiya National Park in Nepal. Chitwan National park is at the bottom of the Himalayan mountains at about 300 feet above sea level. The jungle safari tour involves verry little hiking, and a whole lot of fun. The tour costs $2,090 per person, and lasts 3 days. If you would like to book your family trip with us, please follow this link to our website. It is a tour the whole family can enjoy.
The jungle safari in Chitwan starts with checking into your hotel. After you are situated, your guide will take you on a 10 minute walk to the bank of the Rapti River. You can see a few different types of animals here, mainly birds, alligators, and crocodiles. You can also see wild jungle pigs, wild elephants, and sometimes rhinoceros.
After the sun sets on the jungle, you will be treated to a cultural dance show by local people. Many families participate in the show, and each one highlights a different reason for dance. You conclude the night after the dance.
The safari starts in the morning. You can go on a jeep safari or ride on the back of an elephant. I felt bad for the elephant when I took the tour, but It was fun. I would do a jeep tour next time. Whichever safari you choose you will see a lot of really cool animals.
At the end of the safari you are taken on a canoe ride down the river. It is also a lot of fun and a little scary because of all the crocodiles and alligators.
The canoe trip ends a short hike from the Chitwan National Park elephant breeding center. Here you can learn about the restoration work and breeding programs for the Asian elephants.
At the end of the day you will be treated to an evening farewell dinner. In the morning one last hike to the Rapti river where you have one last chance of seeing early morning animals, then to Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Kathmandu Sightseeing tour
The Kathmandu sightseeing tour visits most of the UNESCO cultural heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley. It visits the monkey temple, Swayambhu, Bhaktapur durbar square, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath, and Changunarayan.
Each visiting spot involves a short walk around. There are places to stop and eat, as well as shop, or rest at most of the stops.
Kathmandu is at an elevation of 4,593 feet, which is just under a mile high. There is a lot of dust kicked up by traffic and wind, and I highly advise bringing a dust mask, or buying one in Kathmandu. You will be in a private vehicle during your trip. Traffic can slow the pace of the trip, but you should not have any difficulty completing it in 2 days.
The cost of the tour is $250 dollars. You can book it by clicking on this link, and purchasing it through our website.
This is a great family tour, but people who favor history, culture, art, and architecture will appreciate it more than others. My favorite cultural heritage site is Boudhanath Stupa. I’m sure each person can find something they enjoy on this tour.
Poon Hill Trek
The Poon Hill Trek is one of the most popular treks in the Annapurna Region. It is in the Annapurna range, North of Pokhara valley. The elevation at the top of the hill is 10,531 feet. This is about 2 miles high and can be a challenge for anyone not accustomed to altitude or exercise.
This is one of my favorite hikes in Nepal in April. It can be done in 3 days if you are in a hurry. But taking it slow and enjoying your time will take 6 days with an additional day relaxing on the shore of Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
If you have young kids in your family, I highly recommend taking the time and going slow. The trek is very doable and enjoyable for all members of the family.
The Trip costs $2,500, and includes all food, travel expenses to and from Kathmandu, hotel stays, permits and licenses, guide, and porter. If you have a large group please contact us in advance and we will give you a discount.
From the top of Poon Hill you can see the entire Annapurna range and Dhaulagiri. They are the 10th highest and 7th highest mountains in the world. In April you also have beautiful views of red and pink rhododendron forests.
I would recommend visiting the area in any season except summer. It is very pretty and worth the hike. You can book the trip by clicking on this link, and making a purchase on our website.
How long is the trek?
The trek takes 6 days and depending on your start location, 32 miles round trip. you will climb in elevation about 2,414 feet.
Please consult your physician about hiking in elevations of up to 10,600 feet.
Everest Base Camp trek
I do not recommend Everest Base Camp for any family vacations with children or teenagers. I get a ton of questions about this all the time. It is not safe. It is a great trek, but not for children.
The Everest region reaches some of the highest elevations of all the trekking tours in Nepal. The trip is strenuous. It is a 77 mile round trip hike lasting 16 days. It starts at an elevation 9,383 feet in Lukla and only goes up from there.
I experienced altitude sickness twice while hiking to EBC. Once was in Namche Bazaar (11,286 ft) and the other time was in Lobuche (20,075 ft).
Unless your children are professional athletes, and you have exceptional travel insurance, please do not attempt this trek in Nepal with kids.
Trekking In Nepal With Kids
When trekking in Nepal with kids please choose a trek that is appropriate in length, duration, and intensity.
You do not want a trek that is to long or too steep or climbs too high in elevation.
You should choose a trek or tour you and the entire family can agree on. The Nepal trek mentioned above has natural beauty and breath taking views.
When you get here, I’m sure you will find the Nepali people to be warm, inviting and generous.
I hope you found this article informative and useful. And I hope your Nepal family holidays are fun and safe.
Great! You’ve come to the right place. In this blog post I will break down popular tour packages based on cost, duration, value, when to visit, and common activities for tourists.
I hope you enjoy this article. If you are still left with some questions, please contact me.
Is Nepal worth visiting?
Yes! If you love drop dead gorgeous landscapes, world class hiking and trekking, seeing majestic wildlife, experiencing rich vibrant cultures, and meeting the kindest people in all of Asia; It is definitely worth visiting.
If you want to visit a country where you can party, Nepal is not for you. Visit Thailand or California, I heard they know how to party. But seriously though, don’t come here if all you want to do is party.
Without giving too much away just yet, here are a few of the most popular destinations in Nepal: Chitwan National Park, Annapurna Conservation area, Sagarmatha National park (Mt. Everest), Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha), and of course the capital, Kathmandu.
I will go over the areas in further detail, so you can best plan your Nepal tour.
How much time do you need for a Nepal tour?
You can pretty much see everything you want in 2 months. This includes hiking, travel, sight seeing, and rest breaks in-between. However; you don’t need 2 months to enjoy this beautiful country.
Your Nepal trip can be as short as 3 days, and you will still have an amazing experience. The following tour package menu give the duration, cost, and best time to travel for a specific tour package. I also Identified my favorites with a red check mark.
What a great question, and one that actually comes up more often than one would think. In 3 days you can do any one of the 3 day Nepal tour packages.
You can go on a Royal Chitwan National Park Safari, shortened Buddhist pilgrimage Tour, shortened Poon Hill Trek, UNESCO world heritage site tour, Kathmandu valley tour, yoga retreat, Cannabis tour, volunteer at a school or NGO, and live in a practicing monastery as a monk.
How much do Nepal trips cost?
The cost of a tour ranges from $250 to $5,290. The range in price is dependent on the duration and difficulty of the trip.
A one day guided tour in a private jeep will cost about 250 dollars. A two week tour package with a guide and porter requiring multiple permits licensing costs over $5,000. This includes all expenses except air travel.
In perspective, a person working 10 hour days 6 days a week, in Pokhara Nepal will make about 125,000 rupees a month. One US dollar is about equal to 125 Nepali rupee. This is enough to pay for rent, food, school supplies, and minor living expenses.
Labor workers living in a village are paid $2 to $5 per day. That is less than a dollar an hour. Book a trip with us and make a difference.
Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure is employee owned. Each guide, porter, cook, logistics manager, marketer, and content creator all get a fair and equal share of the proceeds. Which means you get a better service, a better experience, and a happy tour guide.
Tour guides are the heart of the travel industry in Nepal. Most guides will work with one or two travel agencies or tour operators, and rarely freelance.
If you are only interested in hiring a tour guide and don’t want any licensing, or arrangements, please call or email us and we will set you up.
Guides will charge based on the difficulty of the tour, and the number of people in the group. Some guides require help if they work large group tours. The number of children in a group will also affect the rate. Most guides will charge about $25 to $50 per day. I suggest paying $75 to $100 per day if you are not purchasing a package.
Please note: availability of tour guides will change based on season and holidays. Please call or email before you visit Nepal to see if your vacation falls on a Nepal holiday. Most guides will not work on important holidays, or will charge two to four times the going rate.
Dashain, Tihar and Chhath are the most important holidays in Nepal. Buddha Purina, Eid, Loktantra day, and Ganatantra day are also very important but they are not celebrated on as grand of a scale as the top 3. Here is a schedule for holidays in Nepal.
Which is the best time to visit Nepal?
This is debatable and dependent on what Nepal tours you are coming for. If you are interested in a river rafting adventure activities, you may want to consider coming at the end of the summer months. This is at the end of the monsoon season with some very high flow.
For the best landscape scenes with the clearest sky, September through November are the best months to come. Unfortunately it is also the most crowded.
I would visit Chitwan National park in the Spring months. The jeep safari tour is pretty fun. I am opposed to the mistreatment of the elephants so I tend to recommend the alternatives to the traditional park tour.
If you want to see a Bengal tiger, visit Bardiya national park, not Chitwan. Also the rhododendron forests on the Poon Hill Trek are in full bloom in late April.
Anytime is a great time for visiting Nepal. I highly recommend not coming in the summer though.
Which tour package is the best?
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is the best tour package. At least it is the one I like the most. It is one of the most popular mountain ranges for good reason. Spectacular does not even come close to describing this amazing experience.
The Everest base camp trek is a close second for me. It’s the highest mountain in the world and most famous, but not the best tour package.
Regular tour package
Tour packages include a guide, 1 to 3 porters, living accommodations, permits and licensing, logistics handling, transportation services, food and non alcoholic beverages.
You may also request a private photographer to go with you.
Living accommodations range from tea houses to 5 star hotels. A tea house is essentially a highly commercialized Airbnb. Most are single rooms with a shared bathroom. While trekking, only the tea houses are available.
The following is a list of Nepal tours and Nepal tour packages.
Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan national park tour lasts for 3 days. It is one of the least strenuous tours in Nepal. You will most likely see gharial crocodiles, one horned rhinos, tons of birds, deer, and possibly a sun bear and Bengal tiger. The cost of the trip is $2,090. The tour includes a pretty decent show featuring local culture from the ethnic groups in the area.
Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
The Everest Base Camp Trek lasts for 16 days. It is one of the most strenuous tors in Nepal. The altitude is the greatest obstacle in making it to base camp. But, it is also the easiest obstacle to overcome.
Namche Bazaar, Mt. Ama Dablam, Mt. Lhotse (4th tallest Mt. in the world) and of course Mount Everest are the main sights. If you are extremally lucky, you will see a snow leopard or mountain sheep. The cost of the Everest Base Camp trek is $4,090.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The ABC Trek is a 10 day adventure into the heart of the 10th largest mountain in the world. The Annapurna region has many stunning hikes, but only the base camp trek takes you to Mt. Machapurchare, and Annapurna I.
Full disclosure, I haven’t been to the base camp, so I cant speak from first hand experience, but all the stories I’ve heard say they have an amazing time.
The trip costs $3,000, which is pretty good because you can include the Poon Hill trek at no additional fee.
Annapurna Circuit Trek
This is my favorite trek in the entire country. When I say, “I love this trek” it is an understatement. To me it just feels right. The views are breathtaking, the walk is just delightful, there are plenty of side quests to explore, like Tilicho lake and ancient cliff dwellings. You get to hike through local villages in rural Nepal. There are monasteries and temples scattered along the trail. This trip has it all. It is a 16 day trip that will cost $4,090.
Langtang National park is more of a nature preserve than a hiking destination. At the peak of the trek you will be surrounded by some dynamic mountain landscapes. The trip features stellar views of Langtang Lirung, and lots of wildlife.
If you are lucky you can see red pandas! Also in late April, there are a few nice groves of Rhododendrons that should be in full bloom. There are multiple check points in and out of Langtang national park to check for smuggled wildlife.
The trip can last up to 11 days, but can be completed in 4. It costs $3,250. Contact your tour operators to discuss cost and duration.
Kathmandu sightseeing tour
Did you know the Kathmandu valley used to be a prehistoric lake? There are tons of fossils beneath all those temples and shrines. This is actually identified in the legend of the monkey temple. (identified below)
The sightseeing tour is scheduled to last 1 day, but you may extend it out to two. There are enough really cool things to see to take up 2 days. The tour costs $250. The highlights of this sightseeing tour are identified below.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
The Kathmandu Durbar Suare is a world heritage site. it used to the be the location of the Nepal royal palace, but was moved to near Thamel. The area is still a coveted attraction for both locals and tourists even though it was damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Fortunately, construction is underway.
This area used to be the business hub of Nepal. And although no formal documents identify the construction period, it is believed to have started construction in late 1000 CE. with the construction of the royal palace. Subsequent buildings were built in response.
This is one of my favorite areas in Kathmandu. It is also a world heritage site. It is believed to have been built around 1692. The complex contains temples, ashrams, Bagmati river, funeral pyres, and a small zoo at the top of the hill.
Please visit my blog post about Pashupati temple for mor information. https://mynepaltrek.com/?s=pashupati+temple
The legend of the Swayambhunath temple (AKA monkey temple) identifies a large lake covered in lotus flowers. At the center of the lake was a perfect lotus flower that grew underwater. The deity of wisdom, Manjushri, heard about this perfect flower growing at the bottom of the lake. When he found it, he turned it into an island, raising it above the water.
He thought it would be lonely so he drained the lake for people to visit. But in doing so, his head lice fell from his head on the hill and turned into rhesus monkeys.
The area the lake used to sit on is now the Kathmandu valley. If you travel to Pahupatinath, watch your belongings, because the monkeys will steal items from your bags.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
This is another world heritage site. some of the temples collapsed in the 2015 earthquake but restoration efforts are underway. Inside the Bhaktapur square you can still see the 55 window palace, Nyatapola and Bhairava temples, The golden gate of Bhaktapur, and other temples.
I believe the mini-Pashupatinath temple, and Lakshmi temples are being rebuilt. However; The pottery square is still open.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan is another UNESCO World Heritage site. Unfortunately it was heavily damaged in the 2015 earthquake. It is slowly being rebuilt. A few structures, most notably the stone shrine dedicated to Shiva and the Keshav Narayan building, which is also a museum.
Changu Narayan Temple
This temple is shrouded in mystery. I can not get a strait story about it. There are 3 legends surrounding the temple.
The first story is that it is named after the Kashmiri king who married his daughter, princes Champak, to the prince of Bhaktapur. The local community is named Changu and the temple is Changu Narayan temple.
Maybe the Bhaktapur prince was named Narayan, and over the years the villagers changed the name of the village to be named after the temple?
The second story is Vishnu was hunting in the forest and killed a man on accident. For the crime he was entombed inside a tree and could only emerge as a small boy. One day two villagers saw the boy come out of the tree and steal cow milk. They chopped down the tree and freed Vishnu from his prison.
The third story is not worth repeating. It involves an old man and a boy wrestling. The young boys name was Changu.
The temple is believed to be the oldest in Nepal. But who believes anything now, after those 3 stories.
Lumbini Spiritual Tour
Lumbini is the birth place of lord Buddha. It is a popular destination for Buddhists, and is one of the main tourist areas.
I have not been to Lumbini and can not speak from personal experience. My friends that have gone liked the accommodations.
A Buddhist pilgrimage in Lumbini can take up to 7 days, but can be shortened to 4. The tour costs $2,120.
Nepal Textile tour
Our textile tour is fairly new. It pays homage to the arts and crafts of the rich cultural diversity in Nepal. The tour lasts 11 days, and takes you to the artistic hubs around central and western Nepal. The tour visits textile factories producing daka, fabric dyeing locations, and in house fabric weaving. The textile tour costs $1,500.
Nepal Cannabis tour
The Cannabis tour is only offered in October. It combines scenic views of the Himalayan mountains with, rural village small farm tours, and a food tour in Pokhara. The tour uses a private vehicle and lasts 7 days. The cost of the tour is $2,500
UNESCO world heritage sites tour
The UNESCO world heritage sites tour visits 9 out of 10 UNESCO sites in Nepal. Sagarmatha National Park (mount Everest) is left out due to time.
The tour combines a 2 day Kathmandu sight seeing tour with a Chitwan National Park tour and a Lumbini Pilgrimage tour.
The tour takes 7 days and costs $3,250, which is a better deal than buying all activities individually.
What activities do tourist like to do in Nepal?
As a tourist in Nepal I enjoyed trekking, visiting cultural sites, and national parks. I liked Chitwan national park the best. All of the Nepal tours are great and let you experience a different aspect of the country. I did not enjoy Nepali cuisine very much, but I loved the Indian food.
Nepal is a family friendly destination with a rich culture surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Come visit Nepal and we will find an activity that’s right for you and your family.
Yoga and well being go hand in hand. It is all about harmonizing your body, mind, soul, and heart. Starting yoga for the physical practice is great, but it isn’t the best part. The best part of yoga is the lifestyle, and the comfort that comes from being the best version of yourself. Becoming physically fit is a welcomed side effect. Gaining muscle tone and becoming limber are part of the life style. It also involves eating right and detoxing your body with healthy eating practices. The Yoga Retreat in Nepal is available to get you out of your daily routine and reform your neuro-connections to favor your best version of you.
Nepal Yoga Retreat
The Nepal Yoga Retreat can be many things to many people. This is why it is completely customizable. If what you need is a yoga trek to the most beautiful mountains in Nepal, then that is what you will receive. If you need an old fashioned retreat in a lodge where you can detox and be pampered, then that is what you will receive. The best yoga retreat is the one that is right for you. You can request a special yoga practice in a private lesson with a private teacher. For those of us who want something special, but don’t quite know what it looks like, we can try the Yoga Studio Tour, or the Phewa Lake yoga retreat.
Phewa Lake Yoga Retreat
In my humble opinion Pokhara is the best city for retreats. It is centrally located with access to comfortable facilities. In one day, you can visit the foothills to watch the sunrise over the Annapurna Mountains, walk along the beach, go kayaking, meditate in a Buddhist monastery, and practice yoga. It is a little impacted with people during the busy season (September through November). The sparsely populated area just north of Pokhara is Sarankot. It is an excellent alternative with all the same luxuries.
My second choice for a yoga lake retreat is Rara Lake. It has a few hotels and is not frequently visited. If you want to get away from modern life and practice yoga in an isolated and pristine environment, this is for you. Full disclosure, I have not been to Rara Lake, but some of our guides have. This is their translated account: It is difficult with many hardships, but it is beautiful and clean.
Kathmandu Valley Yoga Retreats
The Kathmandu valley has an extraordinary history worthy of a Hollywood movie production. In fact a few movies have been filmed in Hollywood. Dr. Strange and Everest are the two most recent productions. Watching these movies you catch a glimpse of the cultural context of the yoga retreats in Nepal. You can stay in an ashram and practice yoga. You can even live in one of the temples like Pashupatinath with sadhus. The architecture is amazing and definitely worth a visit.
Lalitpur Nepal is one of the best places to take yoga classes in the Kathmandu valley. It is historically named Patan and is the 3rd largest city in Nepal. It has multiple yoga studios and yoga lessons are offered inPatan Durbar Square. The Krishna mandir is one of the most famous shrines in Nepal.
Yoga in Nepal
The exact history of yoga is unknown. The first written mention of it is in the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is one of four books of Hindu scripture. It was written around 1500 BCE in India. In the book it identifies yoga, “yogam” as a spiritual yoking. It does not relate to the physical exercise we know it as today. In this way yoga was brought to Nepal in scripture and religious practice. As of 2020, about 81% of Nepali people practice Hinduism.
Yoga became a physical practice around 1100 CE. Initially it was a type of seated hatha yoga and meditation for spiritual wellness. It had few standing poses.
Current yoga practice in Nepal is limited to a couple dozen studios in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The yoga philosophy of joining ones self with Hinduism is practiced by most people. You can find saddhus and yogi at Pashupatinath and at centers in Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you book a yoga retreat you can have a private retreat center anywhere in Nepal.
Yoga and Meditation
The physical process of yoga is a pathway for your body to rid itself of emotional and physical tension. The exercise prepares the body for stillness and the mind for concentration. This duality, concentration and relaxation, is important for achieving meditation. Once the union of mind and body is made, they become grounded (advaita). This grounding strengthens the balance of the body, mind, and senses.
Yoga meditation classes are available during a yoga retreat. Make sure you find the right studio and teacher. If you do not Know where to start, please contact us. You want to feel comfortable during your meditation and yoga sessions. The stronger the bond you have with your teacher and classmates, the more you will get out of your yoga class.
Best Yoga to Practice in Nepal
I recommend combining traditional asanas with hatha poses during your yoga retreat. This this style of yoga is most common in Nepal, and you are likely to find an excellent yoga teacher and studio for your practice. It will be a little bit more tricky but you can find a yoga teacher for most types of yoga at a yoga center. Be sure to call ahead to request the type of practice you would like to do. The following is a list of “basic” asanas I found on Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_asanas)
When picking your wellness retreats, you should keep a few things in mind. In general, you want to know what yoga style or yoga styles and techniques they offer. It is good to know how long each yoga session is. If you are interested in teacher training, ask to see about qualifications and accreditation.
Here is a list of some questions to ask and actions to take before you decide on a retreat:
Review their rankings on third party sites like google reviews and trip advisor
Make sure you have a few backups in case they overbook and you are left out.
Schedule your retreat through a tour operator. Studios are less likely to overbook you if your reservation is made through a tour operator like Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures.
Ask if they offer any special diets or detoxes like juice cleanses
Ask if they offer any spa treatments like massage
Ask if they mix their beginner classes with their advanced classes
Ask if they have what you are looking for, even if its not advertised. Be careful if it is a highly specialized training or item and they say “yes” without thinking about it.
Contact the retreat centers and inquire about their classes and facilities.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and well being. It can include yoga practices, breathing exercises, chanting mantras, meditation, body cleansing, natural herbal medicine, massages, and others. It originated in India and has spread around the world. You must pre-book a ayurvedic consultation at most studios. The high end studios and spas will have an ayurvedic healer on staff. He or she will be able to consult you on appropriate diets, cleanses, natural remedies, and treatments for many health issues.
Please note: ayurvedic treatment may not be an appropriate alternative to some illnesses. Please consult your doctor before pursuing ayurvedic treatment.
Incorporating ayurveda in a yogic lifestyle can have compounding health benefits. It is an excellent way to “yoke” healthy mutually beneficial behaviors together.
Thank you for reading. Please contact me if you have any questions about any of the content.
Yogis and sadhus in Nepal are not all that they pretend to be. A great many of them pretend to have renounced all earthly possessions and claim to be devotees or followers of a Hindu god such as Shiva or Vishnu. This could not be further from the truth. The truth is that many of the yogis and sadhus are bums and beggars.
Did you notice I didn’t say “homeless”? That is because a lot of them have wives and homes. The ones that do not own a home live collectively in ashrams. They pay rent or provide services to the leader of the ashram, who is generally the oldest member of their collective.
Even the Nepali government advises Nepal’s visitors not to give money to beggars. Though this article identifies kids as the issue, the problem does extend into yogis and Sadhus who operate under false pretenses.
I have seen yogis fight over a bottle of water at Muktinath temple. Muktinath temple is known as the temple of 1,000 water faucets, because water naturally pours through faucets built into retaining walls. To see self-described holy men fight over an abundant resource seems absurd to me.
It was absurd because half the water they were fighting over spilled on the ground. Then when I started to walk by they asked for money, and immediately after resumed fighting. This group of sadhus were not the only sadhus at the temple. There had to be over 50 men and women, no exaggeration. They were lining the walk way asking for cigarettes and money.
A few of them will even curse and violently yell at you, if you pass them without giving any money. I saw one young man take a picture of a sadhu without paying for it. Lord Shiva couldn’t help him. It was as close to a mugging as you can get without any real punches or kicks being thrown.
I came across an interesting fellow while trekking around the Annapurna circuit. We met at a tea house in Upper Pisang. He had an insightful story that he openly and freely shared with me. He went to the Pashupatinath Temple and met a sadhu there. He gave the sadhu $10 and they spent the day together. That night the sadhu invited the young man to join his ashram, which he accepted.
That night the sadhu made chicken for dinner, which most of the other sadhus also ate. After dinner they started smoking cannabis and playing music and singing. The young man had a flute that he began playing. One of the other sadhus at the temple became envious of the flute and tried first to ask for it, but then when the gift was not given, the sadhu tried to take it from him. Fortunately, another sadhu stopped the theft.
The young man left the next morning, but as he was leaving the sadhus made him give $10 to each of them or they wouldn’t let him leave. He gave all the money he had and left for Pokhara.
Don’t let this article convince you that all yogis and sadhus are terrible people. I have met a few that are good people that are honest and diligent on their quest for enlightenment.
The take away message from this article is if you go to Nepal, be aware that all the yogis and sadhus are not who they are pretending to be. Yes it can be fun to sit with them and take a few pictures, but please be safe.
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but only Hindus are allowed entrance. Pashupati is complex of buildings on the bank of the Bagmati river. You can find temples, ashrams, and artistic carvings in the primary temple complex. Outside the temple funeral pyres are routinely held and the ashes are freed in the river.
A small zoo is located above Pashupatinath in a park. It is fitting, because the deity Pashupati is considered lord of animals. Pashupati is important in Hinduism, because it is identified as one of the homes of Shiva as out-lined in the ancient text Paadal Petra Sthalams.
Pashupati was originally built in the 3rd century, but has been rebuilt several times since. The current version of the temple was built by King Shupuspa in the 15th century. In addition, the Guhyeshwari Temple was built in the 11th century, and the Ram temple was added in the 14th century.
There are several myths surrounding Pashupati. My favorite myth is:
One day Lord Shiva was walking around on earth and he came to Bagmati River, which he believed to be one of the most beautiful sites in the world. He fell in love with the area, and turned himself into a deer. He spent many years in this form. Because he grew missed by his deity friends, they came and grabbed him forcing him back into his original form.
Lord Shiva announced, after he returned to his divine form, that he will be known as the Lord of Animals.
How to find Pashupati
Pashupatinath Temple is located 2.5 miles east of Thamel. It is a 15 minute drive, but if there is traffic, it can take up to 40 minutes. You can walk there without too much trouble, because it is a short distance.
When to go
You can visit Pashupati anytime because the area is always open. You can see the funerals and zoo during the day and the lighted temple at night. If you are Hindu, you can enter the temple between 4am and 9pm.
How long to stay
Because you will probably not be able to enter the temple, you will want to spend at least 1 hour in Pashupati. If you are Hindu, you will want to visit for at least 2 hours.
The Boudhanath stupa is incredibly beautiful and massive. Its white dome, like a cloud, stands out under a blue sky. Its golden spire shimmers like the sun on a wave. And its blue eyes are piercing. There is no question as to why this is the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kathmandu. (Other famous sites include the Monkey Temple, or Swayambhunath, and the Patan Durbar Square.)
You can walk around the base of the stupa spinning the several hundred prayer wheels or walk on top of the base to have a bird’s eye view of the monasteries and surrounding shops.
The Boudhanath stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal. Its base is about 85,000 square feet and its volume is about 3.5 million cubic feet. This is impressive especially considering when it was built and who built it (more on that later). Please enjoy reading the rest of this blog post. It is filled with a lot more fascinating information and pictures. If you have a Pinterest please pin all the pictures you like.
Boudhanath Newar mythology
The Newars believe that a king durning the Licchavi period (400-750 AD) wanted to build a water tap (Dhunge Dhara) in his palace court yard. Unfortunately, there was a drought and the royal water diviners, dowsers, and hydrologists could not find water. The king was frustrated and turned to an astrologer. The astrologer said he needed a perfect human sacrifice to find the water.
There were only 3 perfect people living at that time, the king, and his two sons. The king decided he would be sacrificed for the water tap.
Side note: he must have really wanted that water tap! Its too bad he didn’t see the irony in that he wouldn’t be around to enjoy it.
The king’s son cut off the king’s head then threw a chicken into the air, which flew 8 miles west. The king’s son then built Boudhanath stupa were the chicken landed.
Side note: the myth does not mention if water was ever found, but I deduced it wasn’t.
Boudhanath Tibetan mythology
There was a Buddha named Kasyapa who lived for 4 thousand years. An old woman who had given birth to 4 of his sons was grief stricken when she learned about his passing. The woman petitioned a king (name unknown) for permission to build the stupa and place Kasyapa’s ashes in it.
The king gave the woman and her 4 sons permission to build the stupa, which she put kasyapa’s remains in.
There are conflicting opinions on the actual date of construction. The stupa has been dated to the Licchavi period (590-604 AD), and to the Manadeva period (464-505 AD). In Addition, Trisong Detsen, a tibetan emporer, is also associated with the construction of the stupa (755-797 AD).
Historically the area stupa was built on, was a major trade route from Tibet to India. This gives a little more credibility to the Tibetan side with the stupa being commissioned by Trisong Detsen for the construction of the stupa sometime within 755 to 797 AD.
Earthquake damage and repairs
Boudhanath stupa’s spire was cracked during the major earthquake in 2015. The golden spire was removed 6 months later in October and replaced with a new spire in November.
I checked the stupa in April 2018 and it was back to normal.
How to find Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath stupa is 4 miles east of Thamel. If you travel by private car, it shouldn’t take more than 1 hour to get there from Thamel. You can take a private car or taxi. You can also hire a guide and transportation from Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure.
The entrance fee is $4. However, there is a side entrance that doesn’t charge for admission. You can also enter after hours, when the ticket booth is closed.
If you are staying in one of the hotels around Boudhanath stupa, you must pay the entrance fee once then there is no charge.
Length of stay
Boudhanath can be walked in 30 minutes. If you want to spend more time exploring the different monasteries, hotels, restaurants and shops, I would allow for 1 to 2 hours.
Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) is one of Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a dynamic site with 2 main entrances and 3 side entrances. In addition, there are a lot of monkeys that will keep you on your toes. It also has a beautiful attached mythology and architecture. Swayambhunath’s history and symbolism also make this site one of my favorites in the Kathmandu valley. Come explore the Monkey Temple with me.
If you would like to know more about what you can see in Kathmandu, click here.
What does Swayambhunath mean?
Despite the common name “Monkey Temple”, Swayambhunath doesn’t mean monkey or temple. In Tibetan language, it is reference to the many beautiful trees that were once at the site. The name comes from its mythology; Swayambhu means self-created.
The nickname Monkey Temple also originates from its mythology.
Note: the monkeys are very bad here. They will steal items like food, water, and combs from you.
Swayambhunath is believed to have originated from a self-created lotus flower growing out of the center of a lake that filled the Kathmandu valley. An enlightened deity found the lake and decided to drain it by destroying a dam. After all the water rushed out, the lotus flower was the only thing left.
The deity saw the significance in this and began creating a hill to honor the self-created lotus flower. In the process or in disobedience to his mother, he let his hair grow long and eventually contracted head lice. The deity, unfinished with his work left to get the lice removed. But, when he left, the lice jumped off his head and became the monkeys that roam the temple grounds.
The lotus plant, realizing what had happened, rapidly grew thick and dense. It turned itself into the hill and its flower became the stupa.
The earliest record of the construction of Swayambhunath is from the 3rd century B.C. Emperor Ashoka is thought to have built the first temple on the hill, but it was destroyed by an unknown cause.
According to ancient text, the current Swayambhunath was built by King Vrsadeva at the beginning of the 5th century (460-500) A.D. An engraved stone found on the site identifies a work order for the temple, issued by King Manadeva in 640 A.D.
In the 17th century, the king of Kathmandu, King Malla, ordered the construction of the eastern staircase up to the stupa.
The stupa has been renovated 16 times from its construction to 2018.
Swayambhunath has a stupa, multiple shrines and temples, a Tibetan monastery, museum, book store, gift shops, restaurants and a hostel.
The Stupa is a large, white, half sphere with a cube on top of its apex. Each open side of the cube faces north, east, south, or west. Painted on the side of the cube are Buddha’s eyes and a nose, which is a number 1. On top of the cube are 13 tiers and a Gajur at the very top.
The symbolism of Swayambhunath
The base of Swayambhunath, half sphere or dome, represents the world. When a person becomes enlightened, their eyes open and they ascend to the level of Buddha’s eyes. The 13 tiers above the eyes represent the stages of spiritual realizations needed for Buddhahood.
Buddha’s eyes represent wisdom and compassion. Buddha’s nose, the symbol for #1 represents the unity of all things existing in the world and the path to enlightenment.
If you want to know more about Buddhist and Hindu sculpture, click here.
How to get to Swayambhunath
If you are staying in or near Thamel, you can walk to the Monkey Temple easily. Walk west for 40 minutes to get to the bottom of the eastern stairs. You will have to cross a bridge to get there.
You can also get to the stupa by taxi or private car. If you are brave, you can try your hand at public transportation, but you might end up someplace that’s not Swayambhunath.
It is located on the top of a large hill and is easy to spot, if the sky is clear.
Occasionally there is someone charging entrance fees at the top of the stairs on the eastern side of the stupa. The entrance fee is $2. You can also enter the area for free by coming in from the western entrance and any of the side entrances.
Depending on how interested you are and how much you want to see or experience, you can spend 1 to 3 hours here and be satisfied. I could spend an hour just watching the monkeys harass people.
When to go
Mornings are the best time to go, any time before 8:00. Any day of the year is fine too. Just note you might have to bring rain suits if you go during the monsoon season.